Leaving public accounting is a huge decision for many accountants. There is a clear career path, great opportunities, and better pay than most. BUT leaving can also open doors you would’ve never expected. A few of our team members at Taylor White and AccountAbility have shared their stories of how leaving public accounting changed their lives. Some stories are predictable, while others may just convince you to leave public accounting as well! While your path may not turn into one of theirs, it is important to realize there are countless opportunities for you out there.
After six years of public accounting, I knew it was time to make the ultimate decision to look at industry accounting jobs but it was just too hard to imagine saying goodbye to the amazing colleagues, partners and clients I had served for so long. Truth be told, I was so burned out by the busy seasons and constant “learning opportunities” (so they call it) from every new industry, tax return and audit I was responsible for. I rarely ever responded to random recruiters but one day, I must have been feeling overwhelmed as I got a LinkedIn message about an “AMAZING FINANCIAL ANALYSTS OPPORTUNITY WITH OUR FAVORITE CLIENT” and I said to myself, “What the hay….what can it hurt?” After getting connected and discussing my background and the opportunity, deep down I felt like I cheated on my employer and wasn’t excited about the industry but the recruiter urged me to keep an open mind and go on the interview to learn more about the company, team and opportunity to see for myself. Long story short, she was SPOT on! My interviewers were simply amazing, and the company turned out to be the best kept secret in the community. During my onboarding and Lean 101 training, the instructor had mentioned that some employees on campus had established a rock band that played for Employee Appreciation week and I jokingly asked, “Have a need for backup singers?” in which his response was, “Yeah…that would be great!” Thus, started my life as a Financial Analyst and part time rock and roll backup singer. If I never would have taken the chance to at least consider something different, I would have missed one of the most cherished moments of my life.
Leaving Public Accounting For An Industry Job Allowed Rachel To Join A Band.
Public accounting provided a great training ground, both from technical and interpersonal standpoints. But the constant grind of overtime and unpredictable schedules day in and out, prevented me from being able to commit to anything outside of my work. When I made the leap from public accounting to executive recruiting, I continued working long hours, though then I was in control of my schedule. I began volunteering weekly, first with Ronald McDonald House, and then over time expanding to multiple organizations. I auditioned and was accepted to sing with The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and The Florida Orchestra, a time commitment that I never would have been able to make if I were still in public accounting. And I joined a rock ‘n roll band and played weekend gigs locally! Expanding outside of public accounting allowed me to develop new relationships with so many different people, both inside and outside of my business circles, and I was able to return to being a more well-rounded individual. Variety is the spice of life!
Leaving Public Accounting For An Industry Job Allowed Tracy To Pursue Other Meaningful Hobbies.
The decision to leave public accounting is both exciting and daunting. While I knew that I was ready to move on, I was definitely concerned about making the “wrong decision,” and stepping into a position that wasn’t the right fit. No one likes to make a mistake and as accountants we tend to be rather change averse! I had also become very close with my team and firm leadership, which made it even harder. A recruiter from Taylor White presented what seemed like the perfect opportunity for me and after the interviews, I received a great offer. It happened very quickly, which gave me some heightened anxiety, but my gut said it was the right move. When I went in to resign, the partner group definitely challenged my decision. “Why are you going there? You have a solid growth path here? What can we do to make you stay – tell us and we’ll make it happen!” While the pushback was flattering, I knew that my future didn’t lie in public accounting. I questioned my decision many times over my notice period, but I stuck to my resolve and made the leap. In hindsight, I am so glad I did, as I LOVED my new job, and it set the path for what ultimately would become a career shift into the world of recruiting.
Leaving Public Accounting For An Industry Job Allowed Heather To Find The Perfect Career For Her.
Public accounting provided an unmatched learning experience for me and great insight into how accountants function in various industries. It provided me with challenges that many of my peers would not face until several years into their career and the opportunity to collaborate with key executives almost immediately out of college. What it did not provide was balance! When I left public accounting, I was amazed at the extra time I had to cook meals vs relying on busy season take-out (and the lbs that went with it.) I was able to develop friendships with people outside of work and quickly realized that what my colleagues and I accepted as “the norm” was not actually normal. Not everyone had to boot up on weekends and each night at home after long hours at the office. I had the freedom attend 10+ out-of-state weddings in the first couple years without getting behind at work, and I will cherish those memories forever. The biggest impact leaving public accounting had on my life was allowing me to be truly present in moments outside of the office. Only folks who have experienced it might really understand, but I no longer had the constant feeling in the back of my mind that I really should be working instead of doing non-work related activities.
I would not trade my public accounting experience for the world as it was integral in cultivating my strong work ethic and putting me on the fast track for technical development. It was the perfect fit as newly graduated, single, young professional. The public accounting life, though, was not sustainable for me given my social interests and goals in growing a family.
Leaving Public Accounting For An Industry Job Allowed Blair To Have Work-Life Balance.